Author Topic: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion  (Read 1291 times)

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Rustabout

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Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« on: July 29, 2020, 11:07:55 PM »
Some that are familiar with my posts know that I have been interested in this topic for some time. Every now and then I try out a different CAD program to see what it's like. Sometimes my findings are less than popular. Now might be a good time to reignite this topic as many people are working from home, and there could be an increase in the availability of freelance work.

Since last posting something along these lines, I've started learning Rhino3d... I burnt out on the program a bit. But so far to date, it was the best "not AutoCAD, not Revit" program I've used. As one may be quick to point out, Rhino3d is clearly not an 'AutoCAD replacement'. I've been learning Rhino3d because I am worried about my aging skillset, which is proving less and less sale-able in the world of freelance drafting. Rhino3d gives you a 90 day free trial so that is a bonus (and shows a lot of confidence in their sofware).

I did a trial of ProgeCAD and found that not to be a viable option. One thing I didn't like is how they claim that they include a raster converter, but it's really just the freeware version of Wintopo.

After going full circle, my conclusion was to simple subscribe to Autodesk's Revit LT/AutoCAD LT suite (no LISP!!! I'm gutted ;-( ), and slowly try to work Rhino 3d into my workflow.

I'm tempted to try out one more program called GstarCAD. Trying out new programs can be exhausting however. Basically, the same routine I encounter when testing out a new program goes something like this: I run into an operation which I can easily and quickly accomplish in AutoCAD; the same operation is either like pulling teeth or painfully slow in the AutoCAD alternative; I then A) accept it or B) spend time thinking of/developing a 'work around'. Many AutoCAD alternatives also lack documentation/tutorials. BricsCAD has a great support community, which isn't the case for some of the other alternatives. Rhino3d, so far, has the best documentation and also a great community. And of course, help with AutoCAD is just a google search away, owing to the fact that their software is so popular.

MickD

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 12:02:58 AM »
I've said it before and I'll say it again - BricsCAD is dollar for dollar the best value AutoCAD (and verticals) alternative on the market IMO. The 'Platinum' version is cheaper than AutoCAD LT!
It comes with Civil/Structural/Sheetmetal/Mech and BIM and all of these save to native DWG. An AutoCAD user will be productive from the get go as all typical/standard commands are the same.

So, given that and the chance you may need to work from home etc then anyone who needs a tool to do serious, real world projects for a living then it's hard to go past it, especially coming from AutoCAD. If you can model it in AutoCAD then it's the same (and probably easier) to do it in BricsCAD.
Sure, some of the more vertical features will require a bit of training but any sophisticated software requires some work/training from the end user otherwise things will seem harder than what you're used to.
Forth is like the Tao: it is a Way, and is realized when followed.
Its fragility is its strength; its simplicity is its direction - Michael Ham

"First, solve the problem. Then, write the code." John Johnson

Greg B

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 08:48:38 AM »
I used to use DataCAD and it worked pretty good.  Doesn't look to be too expensive either.

nobody

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 06:39:44 PM »
What kind of work are you doing?  Can you share?

I recommend staying away from anything open source or non profit for these reasons:

1) Top talent (the software engineers) will always end up working for private business like Autodesk for the pay and bonus structures that typically comes with private business.  Basically, you don't work for donations right, why would you expect a company that does be successful in the long term?  Non profit corporations have never, ever been more successful than private enterprise so it will always suffer.

2) Because of reason 1 there will be a cap on what non profits can do. Eventually updating their own software will be too complicated, and because they can't pay like private business, updates will end.

In my opinion Autocad, nor any of Autodesk products were ever intended for solo / indie type work originally.  What happened was people all over the world stole their software through pirating or lying about education activity and started to use them for everything under the sun from setting up fake online classes and schools to teach it to doing outsource work for companies around the globe.  So everyone thinks they should have affordable access to software that really has always only ever meant to be for professionals in industry.  That said, I don't think it hurt them in the end. Everyone around the globe in design industries knows who Autodesk is.  What it has done is put people in positions who should have never had access to the software be angry they don't get free, cheap, or open source.

I don't hate Lamborghini's because I can't afford it. Nor will I go into every forum everywhere and complain about how I should have an alternative just like Lamborghini for a price that suits me.  I have to settle for the Honda, and just be content with it. Or I have to do what it takes to buy the Lamborghini. Either way, it's not Lamborghini's problem, its mine.

Rustabout

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 10:59:37 PM »
To be completely honest, if I were chasing the right type of work, the cost of a yearly subscription to Autodesk's AEC collection wouldn't be that bad (but why can't they just give us Revit/AutoCAD for a lower price without all that other crap! argh!!). A person should divide the hours they work by the cost of their licensing. Then they can decide the true cost/value of their software (I'll refer to this later).

The type of work I used to do was repetitive structural type stuff: Multi-Residential mostly. There was HUGE potential for increased productivity using LISP which is the reason I acquired my meager LISP programming skills. I realized that even if I double, quadruple, or even quintuple productivity, there was limited benefit for myself. I can earn much more in other areas of building construction and hence now have a totally different day job. One office I worked in did small jobs. It turns out these types of jobs can be quite lucrative (and I don't mind drafting them compared to bigger, repetitive jobs). So I'm chasing that type of work; permit drawing sets (architectural drawings for small buildings let's say) and structural plans for small jobs.

The main reason I want to shy away from Autodesk is because I feel like their product is getting bogged down. AutoCAD performs 'laggy' on even fast computers. And the more complicated it gets, the more things that can go wrong. With that said, I have chosen (for the short to medium term) to stick with Revit/AutoCAD LT Suite. It's actually very good value (it's also on sale right now I think).

I know lots of people default to the 'BricsCAD' suggestion. And I also know MickD hates it when I roast on BricsCAD. Unfortunately, I can only conclude that BricsCAD came up a little short for myself. BricsCAD's pricing is actually not that great: AutoCAD LT's and BricsCAD's classic's yearly licensing fees are actually about the same. And for a little more a person could get the AutoCAD/Revit LT suite. One could opt for BricsCAD's perpetual license, but the new problem that arises are the maintenance fees. There isn't exactly a lot of transparency on Bricsys's site regarding this. Imagine subscribing to a program for $400 per year, or buying another software program for $1,000 upfront, but they also charge $300 every time you have to upgrade. After purchasing the software, you realize you have to upgrade every 2 years. So basically at year 4, both options have amounted to the same overall cost. This is a similar conundrum I've been battling with the decision whether or not I should go with BricsCAD Classic (I won't get into why I'm not considering their vertical options). I've tested out BricsCAD twice and have concluded that it would slow my productivity (just) enough to not make the purchase worthwhile. If, however, their prices came down and/or there was more transparency regarding their maintenance fees I could see myself giving BricsCAD Classic another look; there's potential there.

MickD

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2020, 12:09:35 AM »

And I also know MickD hates it when I roast on BricsCAD.

Only because you have never come up with any concrete evidence of 'why' or how it doesn't work for you, what you are trying to use it for and you go on to make out that the pricing is 'way' more expensive than any of the competition.
You say it doesn't work like Revit, no one said it would, so what particularly is wrong or can't work out how to do?? Then you go and use Rhino and praise it which is fine but I see little if no comparison of Rhino to Revit.
What field do you actually work in??

Respectfully Rustabout, none of your arguments make any sense (to me at least) and what you do say is pretty much unjustified personal opinion without citing some instances/costing figures comparisons/actual problems and/or incompatibilities.
Basically, my concerns are less to do with that you don't like or want to use BricsCAD, I really don't care, it's just that people read what you say and may take it on face value that you know what you are talking about and you haven't shown me any real reason to believe that you do yet.

I've even wondered if you're just here trolling, if you are I take my hat off to you, you are very good! :)

Carry on...  :roll:
Forth is like the Tao: it is a Way, and is realized when followed.
Its fragility is its strength; its simplicity is its direction - Michael Ham

"First, solve the problem. Then, write the code." John Johnson

Greg B

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2020, 09:06:50 AM »
In my opinion Autocad, nor any of Autodesk products were ever intended for solo / indie type work originally.  What happened was people all over the world stole their software through pirating or lying about education activity and started to use them for everything under the sun from setting up fake online classes and schools to teach it to doing outsource work for companies around the globe.  So everyone thinks they should have affordable access to software that really has always only ever meant to be for professionals in industry.  That said, I don't think it hurt them in the end. Everyone around the globe in design industries knows who Autodesk is.  What it has done is put people in positions who should have never had access to the software be angry they don't get free, cheap, or open source.

I don't hate Lamborghini's because I can't afford it. Nor will I go into every forum everywhere and complain about how I should have an alternative just like Lamborghini for a price that suits me.  I have to settle for the Honda, and just be content with it. Or I have to do what it takes to buy the Lamborghini. Either way, it's not Lamborghini's problem, its mine.

I understand your opinion and disagree with part of it...

While many people did steal the software, AutoCAD/Desk format was so widely used that smaller firms HAD to get it to work with the larger firms that could easily afford the costs of the software.  AutoCAD essentially had a monopoly on the CAD market and dictated what how their format should run.  How often do you see alternative CAD packages have an option to convert to .dwg?  Do you see AutoCAD allowing it's files to be converted to each and every other CAD format? (Note: I have been out of the CAD industry for many, many, many years so they might.  I don't know.)

So my opinion is that it was AutoCAD's monopoly that has set the price and not that someone stole a copy or 200k.

Thanks!

You guys are great!

Greg

Rustabout

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2020, 02:44:02 PM »
MickD: I do in fact have justification for my critique of BricsCAD. And I've described such critiques objectively. I feel like 1) You are being a little hypocritical (if you disagree, perhaps consider re-reading some of your own posts, especially regarding costing), and 2) Much of your critique indicates that you might not be reading my entire posts; you've asked a few questions in your last post that are answered clearly in my previous post. Furthermore, I sense that you have a conflict of interest; perhaps you're a re-seller? If that's the case, you should make such conflict of interest(s) clear. If you are a reseller, you're likely hurting your sales more than helping them. A good reseller makes people WANT to use their software.

You claim that I make statements that are vague/unclear (along those lines not worded exactly like that), but then in the same post you make very subjective arguments that are sometimes even misleading. This is very hypocritical. One statement you make is that "The Platinum version" (of BricsCAD) "is cheaper than AutoCAD LT". This is only true if certain conditions exist. And unfortunately, since you've dodged the topic of maintenance fees (or maybe you have no clue how much they are, just like me), we cannot say which product is cheaper with any certainty whatsoever. A 1-year subscription to AutoCAD LT is about half the cost of a 1-year subscription to BricsCAD Platinum. Somewhere during year 4 is when an AutoCAD LT subscription would become more expense than the Platimum's perpetual license. The wildcard here is the maintenance fees. Simply making the statement in your previous post about the cost of AutoCAD LT vs BricsCAD Platinum is misleading. I also objectively framed my 'pricing' argument in my previous post which you've accidentally missed I see.

To bury this topic I'm going to list the main things that deterred me from using BricsCAD:

The Parametric Block System Sucks (like really bad): I found some videos on YouTube 'demonstrating' BricsCAD's parametric block system, only to find out, after hours of wasted time, that this wasn't actually live workflow (this seemed dishonest to me). The parametric block system is decades behind.

The 'BIM' Vertical Feature Falls WAY Short Of What It's Marketed To Do: The 'BIM' version of the program feels totally commercially un-viable. Nothing on the internet indicates that a complete BIM project has even ever been created with the program. I really really wanted to make this work as I was extremely keen on bringing LISP into the realm of BIM projects. It appears that they are charging thousands of dollars for a program feature that is unproven, when they should really be doing full-scale beta testing. I will not comment on the Mechanical drafting features other that just saying "they look really good"; looks can be deceiving of course.

The Maintenance Costs Aren't Known Upfront: If anyone here is a re-seller and is at liberty to share, or has purchased a 'maintenance package' recently, this would be a very important pricing feature to make clear. This basically tips the scale as to whether or not the software is of better overall value than it's competitors.

Online Learning Resources Are Quite Far Behind Other Programs: Even much smaller software companies have better resources for learning the software. BricsCAD could improve so much in this area. It took A LOT of effort to discover my first point about the

When The Software Does Have Shortcomings, Many People Won't Admit it/They'll Beat Around the Bush And Dodge The Topic: It took A LOT of time and effort to find out that BricsCAD's parametric block system was what it was. This was due to the aforementioned youTube videos among other things. Every program has it's faults/shortcomings. The sooner people accept/admit that a program might be behind in a certain area, the sooner they can get to work on a fix/workaround.

Staying With Native 'DWG' File Formatting May Actually Be Hurting Them: All a program needs to be able to do is to 'export' a dwg. Nobody is looking for BIM in an exported DWG file. DWG's where first used in the early 1980's. Exchange between BIM programs is usually achieved with an 'IFC' model but also there are probably many other file formats.

BricsCAD used to have much more favorable pricing back when it focused on being a simple 'not AutoCAD' CAD program. To me it seems like Bricsys has veered their efforts towards supplying software tailored to large mechanical engineering firms (this is NOT a critique, but rather just an observation based on where it looks like their focus is, and their client base).

If any resellers or stakeholders are reading the debate between myself and MickD, I can say for certain that this is not how you market a software program. I would love to see stronger market competition in the CAD software business. I do believe with some adjustments in direction and marketing strategies, BricsCAD could become a much stronger competitor (although this might not be as profitable as their current direction, see paragraph above). A big different I'm seeing between the 'BricsCAD' community and other software program communities is that the other communities identify problems (not deny them) and get to work on a solution/workaround. Or worse case simple say "the software can't do that unfortunately". A user (or potential user) can then make a judgement call as to whether or not the software is for them, rather than wasting their time with unclear, subjective statements. I'll end this paragraph by stating again to potential resellers/stake-holders: This is not the way to market a software program. Even though I found BricsCAD to be"not for myself" I actually feel like I could market it better than much of what I'm seeing here.

Re: Rhino3D is a viable BIM alternative with some additional plugins; Even Trimble Sketchup is a viable BIM alternative. Whether these qualify as full BIM is another discussion altogether (and this varies depending on how far down the plugin rabbit hole one goes). There are firms successfully using both programs to create fully documented drawing sets (most likely combined with a 2D CAD program however).




Rustabout

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2020, 03:09:09 PM »
Even if a program costs $100 people will still steal it. I think that Autodesk knows this. I have a feeling that Windows is working with developers to find ways to block cracked software from working on their operating systems, and I have a feeling they bill this out as a service. This would help 'paying' software users.

As a freelancer, if I were to work 10 hours a week (that would be my sweet spot), lets say 500 hours per year to make things easy... The cheapest way I could get my hands on Revit and AutoCAD full is their AEC collection. It costs about $4,000 per year in my countries meager currency (rounded, lets keep thins 'easy'). $4,000/500 = $8 per every hour I work. If I freelance full time, this goes down to $2/hour. AutoCAD/Revit LT Suite costs (after tax & rounded up) $800/year let's say (it was on sale for a little less but the sale has ended it looks like). My 'part time' hourly cost goes down to less than $2 per hour. Ultimately, what I've getting at with this paragraph is that it doesn't really matter so much whether you work in a large office or not; the hours you work and what you're able to bill will dictate whether or not it's worth paying those big subscription fees. The fact that Autodesk only offers an inflexible 'AEC collection' does agree with the rhetoric that Autodesk is targeting large firms (if someone actually uses every program in the suite I would be extremely impressed). There marketing team is very smart in that the 'LT Suite' is priced just low enough to keep many users under the Autodesk umbrella and prevent them from jumping ship (and giving momentum to competitors)... but barely! Hence my venture into comparing other options.

To summarize the above paragraph: If I work full-time, the heavy subscription fees suck, but won't wreck my bottom line. At under 20 hours a week, I have to start considering the level of service I'm able to provide and whether or not it's worth paying that much. If I switch to AutoCAD/Revit LT I'm able to provide a decent enough service. But something tells me there might be a better combination of software available. If not now maybe in the near future.

MickD

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2020, 05:12:10 PM »
- No, I have no affiliation with BricsCAD or Bricsys other than developing plugins for customers. I have used and developed extensively with more CAD platforms than I can remember, some very cheap, some cost over $35k+. Am I an evangelist? Perhaps, it's solid software and more than capable enough in the right hands at its price point/s.

- I'm not wasting my time doing your leg work regarding pricing, ring a local reseller and ask, simple. I only provided some seeds for study.
Calling me a hypocrite doesn't do you any favours nor improve your standing on this topic (with me at least).

- BIM is just data, if you know Lisp or other language just add the BIM data as xdata/xrecords or some other storage method to whatever CAD platform you use entities and export it to IFC(xml), build your own BIM package :) .

If it doesn't work for you fine, again, I could care less. If it's not affordable for you then move on.
It seems that what I have experienced with using BricsCAD over the last decade or more is obviously out of sorts with what you have experienced using in in what, a day, a week? but I digress...I'd just appreciate you save your rhetoric (on any CAD system) for some other cause.

I'm out, bye.


Forth is like the Tao: it is a Way, and is realized when followed.
Its fragility is its strength; its simplicity is its direction - Michael Ham

"First, solve the problem. Then, write the code." John Johnson

Rustabout

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Re: Non AutoCAD CAD - Looking to fuel further discussion
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2020, 05:37:58 PM »
This open letter from AEC customers has kind of stirred the pot:

https://www.aecmag.com/comment-mainmenu-36/2046-autodesk-aec-customers-demand-better-value

It's a very interesting read!